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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
Business travelers are increasingly ignoring corporate travel tools and turning to online booking sites and apps to save money and increase their rewards. Rocketmiles’ mission aligns well with this traveler set that will continue to drive the startup’s growth.
Rocketmiles, a Chicago-based startup that offers travelers airline miles for hotel bookings, announced today that it raised $6.5 million in a Series-A round.
August Capital led the round with participation from existing investors Peterson Ventures, Link Ventures and Atlas Venture. The Chicago-based startup previously raised $2 million in seed funding in August 2013.
The startup launched in early April with hotels in 15 cities and miles redeemable on five airlines. Today, hotel bookings are available at more than 5,000 hotels worldwide with miles redeemable on nine carriers.
RocketMiles can earn miles for loyalty programs operated by Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, US Airways, Etihad Airways, Air France/KLM, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, and Virgin America.
Rocketmiles founder and CEO Jay Hoffman says the new funding will primary be used for customer acquisition and setting up offices overseas. Hoffman expects to announce several new airline partners from the Middle East next month, but is focusing much of the company’s expansion efforts on Asia.
The company also announced that August Capital partner Tripp Jones and TripIt co-founder Scott Hintz will be the first two outside members to join the Rocketmiles board.
Hintz was previously SVP of Product at Hotwire and compares its early growth to that of Rocketmiles.
“The growth that Rocketmiles has achieved so far is reminiscent of Hotwire’s early days,” Hintz said in a statement.
When asked, Hoffman said he was not concerned about frequent flyers’ angst over devaluing miles. He describes his customers as those that prefer to save up for something rather than those who seek cash-saving incentives on sites like GroupOn.
Hoffman is also rolling out several custom programs for corporations and considers it another avenue for growth.